You get into the morning train with your newspaper, and you calmly

and majestically give yourself up to your newspaper. You do not

hurry. You know you have at least half an hour of security in front

of you. As your glance lingers idly at the advertisements of

shipping and of songs on the outer pages, your air is the air of a

leisured man, wealthy in time, of a man from some planet where there

are a hundred and twenty-four hours a day instead of twenty-four. I

am an impassioned reader of newspapers. I read five English and two

French dailies, and the news-agents alone know how many weeklies,

regularly. I am obliged to mention this personal fact lest I should

be accused of a prejudice against newspapers when I say that I

object to the reading of newspapers in the morning train. Newspapers

are produced with rapidity, to be read with rapidity. There is no

place in my daily programme for newspapers. I read them as I may in

odd moments. But I do read them. The idea of devoting to them

thirty or forty consecutive minutes of wonderful solitude (for

nowhere can one more perfectly immerse one's self in one's self than

in a compartment full of silent, withdrawn, smoking males) is to me

repugnant. I cannot possibly allow you to scatter priceless pearls

of time with such Oriental lavishness. You are not the Shah of

time. Let me respectfully remind you that you have no more time than

I have. No newspaper reading in trains! I have already "put by"

about three-quarters of an hour for use.

Now you reach your office. And I abandon you there till six

o'clock. I am aware that you have nominally an hour (often in

reality an hour and a half) in the midst of the day, less than half

of which time is given to eating. But I will leave you all that to

spend as you choose. You may read your newspapers then.

I meet you again as you emerge from your office. You are pale and

tired. At any rate, your wife says you are pale, and you give her to

understand that you are tired. During the journey home you have

been gradually working up the tired feeling. The tired feeling

hangs heavy over the mighty suburbs of London like a virtuous and

melancholy cloud, particularly in winter. You don't eat immediately

on your arrival home. But in about an hour or so you feel as if you

could sit up and take a little nourishment. And you do. Then you

smoke, seriously; you see friends; you potter; you play cards; you

flirt with a book; you note that old age is creeping on; you take a

stroll; you caress the piano.... By Jove! a quarter past eleven.

You then devote quite forty minutes to thinking about going to bed;

and it is conceivable that you are acquainted with a genuinely good

whisky. At last you go to bed, exhausted by the day's work. Six

hours, probably more, have gone since you left the office--gone like

a dream, gone like magic, unaccountably gone!

That is a fair sample case. But you say: "It's all very well for

you to talk. A man *is* tired. A man must see his friends. He

can't always be on the stretch." Just so. But when you arrange to

go to the theatre (especially with a pretty woman) what happens?

You rush to the suburbs; you spare no toil to make yourself glorious

in fine raiment; you rush back to town in another train; you keep

yourself on the stretch for four hours, if not five; you take her

home; you take yourself home. You don't spend three-quarters of an

hour in "thinking about" going to bed. You go. Friends and fatigue

have equally been forgotten, and the evening has seemed so

exquisitely long (or perhaps too short)! And do you remember that

time when you were persuaded to sing in the chorus of the amateur

operatic society, and slaved two hours every other night for three

months? Can you deny that when you have something definite to look

forward to at eventide, something that is to employ all your

energy--the thought of that something gives a glow and a more

intense vitality to the whole day?

What I suggest is that at six o'clock you look facts in the face and

admit that you are not tired (because you are not, you know), and

that you arrange your evening so that it is not cut in the middle by

a meal. By so doing you will have a clear expanse of at least three

hours. I do not suggest that you should employ three hours every

night of your life in using up your mental energy. But I do suggest

that you might, for a commencement, employ an hour and a half every

other evening in some important and consecutive cultivation of the

mind. You will still be left with three evenings for friends,

bridge, tennis, domestic scenes, odd reading, pipes, gardening,

pottering, and prize competitions. You will still have the terrific

wealth of forty-five hours between 2 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.

Monday. If you persevere you will soon want to pass four evenings,

and perhaps five, in some sustained endeavour to be genuinely alive.

And you will fall out of that habit of muttering to yourself at

11.15 p.m., "Time to be thinking about going to bed." The man who

begins to go to bed forty minutes before he opens his bedroom door

is bored; that is to say, he is not living.

But remember, at the start, those ninety nocturnal minutes thrice a

week must be the most important minutes in the ten thousand and

eighty. They must be sacred, quite as sacred as a dramatic

rehearsal or a tennis match. Instead of saying, "Sorry I can't see

you, old chap, but I have to run off to the tennis club," you must

say, "...but I have to work." This, I admit, is intensely difficult

to say. Tennis is so much more urgent than the immortal soul.

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